Baltimore County Police officers were called to the scene of an alleged anti-Semitic hate crime near Towson University’s campus on Sunday, April 29, just after 2 a.m.
According to Jennifer Peach, the police department’s spokeswoman, two Jewish males — both university students and members of the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi — were on their way to a house on Aigburth Road near York Road when they noticed they were being followed.
“The suspects [also Towson students] were yelling [F— the Jews and other] anti-Semitic slurs at the victims and followed them to the front lawn of the house,” said Peach. “One of the suspects punched one of the men in the face. The other victim fled to call 911 and then returned to try to break up the fight. Then, he was punched in the face.
“Another person came out of the house and also tried to break up the fight. When the police arrived, five people were fighting and the police did break up the fight,” she said.
Peach said that the university’s campus police were also called to the scene. She said the suspects were intoxicated at the time of the alleged attacks.
Peach said the attacks are classified by police as a second-degree assault/bias incident.
“Police don’t do the charging in second-degree assaults.They are misdemeanors,” she said. “Because the suspects were identified at the scene, the victims are given their identifying information, name, date of birth, address. … If they decide to press charges, they have to go to the District Court and fill out charging documents referencing our report. They have a year and one day to do that.”
In a statement, Towson University President Dr. Kim E. Schatzel said that campus police, in the aftermath of the incident, “immediately reached out to the students involved and, as the reporting of the incident included anti-Semitic words and actions,informed the Office of Student Conduct and the Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity so they could begin a full and ongoing investigation.”
Schatzel’s statement went on to say that “Towson University does not tolerate disgraceful acts of hatred, bias, racism or discrimination of any kind on our campus or by members of the TU community. All reports of hate-bias are taken seriously and are thoroughly investigated. Any student found responsible for such conduct is subject to sanctions including suspension and expulsion from the university.”
Towson has an estimated 2,300 Jewish students on campus.
Towson Hillel director Lisa Bodziner said that her organization “shares in the president’s condemnation of the deplorable and unacceptable incident.”
Bodziner acknowledged that the victims in the attack are known to Hillel and have attended Hillel events in the past.
Since the assaults, Bodziner said the Towson Hillel has worked closely with the university administration, the Baltimore Jewish Council and The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore to ensure that additional resources — including security coverage and consultations — are available for the involved students, their families and the entire campus community.
“Towson University has a well-earned reputation for being a diverse and welcoming community for Jewish students, faculty and staff,” said Bodziner. “This isolated incident doesn’t change that.”